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NB: this has been cross posted with permission from DP with the OP's permission and they would like to point out though that this is written by a Vet in a practice

'These are my experiences from working with one particular practice..other practices may have different protocols..but ultimately the outcomes and choices should be roughly the same'


Euthanasia

I thought i would start a thread on this instead I hear nightmare stories from people regularly about how dreadful their pets' passing was..for all different reasons..the ability of the vet, the condition of the animal etc. People so often dont know what to expect, they arent sure what is acceptable or not and often dont question the vet before, during or after the event.

In the case of dogs, generally the euthanasia drug, Euthatal (or similar) is put into the main vein on the dog's leg..the vet nurse will usually clip up a patch over the vein and spray this with spirit. The Euthatal should be drawn up according to the size/weight of the animal..the nurse will then raise the vein and the vet will put the needle in..some blood will go back up the needle into the syringe which tells the vet that they are correctly in the vein, the vet nurse will then get the silent nod to release the pressure on the vein and this will allow the Euthatal to flow..sometimes this will happen initially but in old/ill/very small animals, the vein may blow..no more Euthatal can be put into the dog through a blown vein..so another vein will need to be used..usually on the other front leg. If the same happens, i personally dont think its acceptable to the owner or the animal to start shaving up back legs etc..at this point, the animal should be sedated to allow the Euthatal to be given into an organ. In straight forward cases of euthanasia..most animals die very quickly..the vet should lay the animal down and after a few minutes check for a heartbeat. A percentage of animals will make sounds after death..it isnt that they arent dead..its often just everything inside losing air etc..facial twitching, gasping, even a barking/whining sound, legs moving and sometimes a 'wag' of the tail also occurs..this can be frightening/upsetting for owners if they havent been warned that it can happen. Often faeces or urine will come out of the animal..again this is due to the euthanasia.

In some old/ill/very small dogs the animal doesnt have sufficient blood pressure for the vet to find/get any Euthatal into the vein..in this case the animal should be given a heavy sedative..something like Domitor..its worth noting that Domitor may cause the animal to vomit any food it has had recently..within 5mins or so the dog will go very heavy and sleepy..at this point the vet should be able to administer the Euthatal into the heart/other vital organ. This method is also preferred in the case of aggressive dogs or very young puppies..anytime a vein is not readily accessible.

In cats it can be more difficult, cats often resent being held tightly and to ensure a safe/stress free passing..the second method is often favoured...the cat is less upset being being held firmly and there is less risk all round of bites/scratches.

No owner should ever feel like they dont have a say in the passing of their pet..many pets will pass easier in their own home..some owners stay, some dont..there is no right or wrong..any owner that feels that their animal is distressed has the right to ask the vet to stop and try another method. The owner, if they want to stay should be encouraged to speak to the dog and keep the dogs attention..the owner talking calmly to the dog often does help.

Within the practice where i work no animals are euthanased and put into cremation bags straight away..the bodies are laid out in a room for a period of time..after being placed in the bag their bodies are taken to the mortuary where they lie in cold storage until the cremation company come to collect them...this is generally with 48hrs of death.

We have visited the cremators that we use..individual cremation and cremation where there are several animals is done properly and with care, attention and respect.

Small furries, parrots, birds etc cannot be injected into the vein as they are too small..they can be gassed down to a stage of unconscious and then euthanased into the heart.

Euthanasia is THE toughest decision that we as owners ever have to make..there is so much upset, heartache and guilt involved in the decision..when things go wrong, the process is made even more difficult to cope with.

Dont ever feel that you dont have a voice for your animal at the end of his/her life..as you have tended, loved and cared for them in life, you are paying for the right to do the same for them in death.

I hope this post hasnt upset/offended anyone..and when the time comes, i hope it might help someone know what should be acceptable and what shouldnt.

xxx


(if anyone would like to read the original thread and answers to q's that came up you can find it http://www.dogpages.org.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=207544&st=45 )
 
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Thank you for posting this. I know the time's going to come with my older cat, Pud, when I'm going to have to face this decision. It may be sooner rather than later, depending on how much worse her kidneys and thyroid get. This post has been incredibly helpful as I have never been there when one of the family pets has been put to sleep in the past, and now at least I have some idea of what is likely to happen. I know it won't change how upset I will feel when the time comes, but at least now I feel like there's not likely to be any unpleasant surprises.
 

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Thanks Jules for posting this.
So many animal owners don/t want to be with their very much loved pets at the last moments, because they don/t know what to expect.

It is peaceful. You can cuddle. Talk them into relaxing, and going off to sleep. (Say your own special words. Time to go night nights. Words that they would know). A comfort to them.

I have seen two dogs now go to rainbow bridge. So glad i could be there for them both.

It really is heart breaking. But i would want my dog,(Animal), to know i was with them.
 

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Thankfully the dogs I`ve been with when they`ver been eutanised have slipped away peacefully with none of the things happening that the vet mentions here, have to say I`ve never been told those are probables either so its good to have read this so if it happens to any of my future pets it won`t come as a shock.
 
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Thank you for posting this, sadly our beloved black lab Tussell failed to recover from a huge operation and a couple of days later had to be PTS. He was my Dad's shadow and Dad just told the vet to go ahead when he rang, the hardest decision he has ever made. My daughter and myself still have terrible guilt feeling for not being there, we were just a few minutes too late, but I do know our vet would have treated him with the same kindness he did in life.

My daughter and I the year before were there when our cat Shamu was PTS. Although the post mentions biting and scratching she was much too ill for this. If it is any comfort to any one, she was very quiet and because her eyes didnt close we didnt even know she had gone. I have to say it made matters worse when the young vet came in with the injection and she was crying, but at least we knew she cared too. We then spent a few minutes with her by ourselves before leaving.

Jayne x
 

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After re/reading the post.

I had my 1st dog PTS. He was as Jules said. He had a fit. Peed, Pooed,

It was not nice.

But i was there for him. Cuddling, and my voise. I kept talking to him.

I think i helped him to the bridge. His last sight, smell, sound, was me.

Thats got to help
 

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Gosh just reading this made me cry.

I have been fortunate, my previous dog was taken by my mother who stayed with him. I was with my cat and I can really say she just went to sleep very peacefully. Well I say that, her eyes stayed open until the vet closed them for us. That was a little unnerving because I didn't expect it.
Our vet was lovely.
 

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This also made me cry :( when I thought I was such a hard B**ch nothing would move me. The one thing I regret when our first lab/baby (had her before we had real kids) was not telling the family she was going to the vet's for the last time. They were aged 2,5 and 7. What would you have done???

I was breaking my heart so much I couldn't have sat them all down and said, Now say Bye Bye.

BUT they still bring it up as something they regret - not having the chance to say goodbye.

Now ask what happened when their (very beloved) grandparents who lived with us were very ill and passed (a few years apart)? Humph, no recriminations - but were they half expecting it?

What is it with dogs that they SOOOOO get into our hearts :roll:

ps I did hold her paw till the last breath and it was very peaceful - just the way I'd want to go when it's my time. Think they'll take me to the vet's if I ask nicely? 8O
 

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Maybe your kids understood death better when they lost their grandparents Dot, 7 and 5 maybe they had some idea, at 2 I doubt s/he`d have really understood, just realised that the dog was no longer around.
 

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That made me cry...

I was glad i stayed with Madison as i was able to hold her and lok right into her eyes. Only think i will say is both me and hubby got the fright of our life when she grunted...we had no prior warning.
 

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What a helpful post on a sad but difficult subject.

Whilst it has brought back some sad memories for me from when I lost my last girl, I have to agree with others that I wasn't given the details on what may happen although she was already heavily sedated due to her illness.

If it helps even one owner facing this horrible, horrible time, then it is well worth it.
 

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_Mary_ said:
Maybe your kids understood death better when they lost their grandparents Dot, 7 and 5 maybe they had some idea, at 2 I doubt s/he`d have really understood, just realised that the dog was no longer around.
Perhaps Mary. My trouble was I was breaking my heart too much before I even got in the car, to sit them down and tell them where I was going...

But at least it gave us the chance (much later) to discuss how you feel about such things. And now they're in their 30's and have kids of their own it's a reminder that you have to think things through BEFORE the event.

Which is what so surprised me and yes, Jules - it was something I really didn't expect to feel and so I just hadn't prepared for. Not the physical things that can happen but how you react.

And here I go again :cry: :cry: :cry: It was 35 years ago for gawd's sake....
 

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One thing I`ve noticed in responses to this thread is a few didn`t realise than an animals eye don`t close when its euthanaised, the first one I was the vet didn`t tell me that til after he`d told me the dog had gone and I asked why its eyes hadn`t closed, I can`t remember why this is but hopefully someone who works/has worked in a vets will be able to say :)
 

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But not everyones eyes close at death surely, if someone is sleeping/unconsious as they go maybe, but if they are awake their eyes have to be closed by you/nurse/doctor!!

Both my old dog nd cat actually went to sleep so their eyes were closed!!

Good post tho, we do need to be toldthese things!! Thank-you.

Marianne
 

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Thank you for this post, I could not be with my beloved Roly at the end, but I hope to god I can be with Twix, I have to show her that we love her and thank god she came into our lives :( Hopefully not for a very long time though :?

My vet told us everything that could happen with Roly beforehand but I dont think I took any of it in :(
 

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Mambosmum said:
But not everyones eyes close at death surely, if someone is sleeping/unconsious as they go maybe, but if they are awake their eyes have to be closed by you/nurse/doctor!!

Both my old dog nd cat actually went to sleep so their eyes were closed!!

Good post tho, we do need to be toldthese things!! Thank-you.

Marianne
The thing is Marianne not everyone knows what happens when someone dies either a lot depends on the circumstances of death and we as pet owners are probably more likely to be with an animal when it dies than we would be a human.
 

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When my baby Sophie went I was with her with her head cradled in
my lap. She struggled a little but had been experiencing statis fits. There was no other choice. The vet did not shave her. Personally I feel this is a cop out to shave by inexperienced vets. Never have I had a dog be shaved for an bloods or canula in the Uk or in France. She passed In the end peacefully. The vet left us alone with her afterwards. My lasting memory is a horrid fly buzzing around her head. Our vet was lovely and a few days later we received a moving card from him reminding us of the good times.
 

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Sad reading this as it is just a month ago I went through this with Lora but I think it is a good idea to explain what happens.

Lora threw her head back and her eyes rolled which I didn't like at all but it only lasted a split second really. The vet did say that she was 'reacting' and also it took longer than they expected for her heart to stop but that was probably due to her liver problems. I had read about what happens before and I'm glad I did as I know it did help me to be prepared for a reaction.

I will always remember the kindness of the vets that day, particularly the 2nd vet who held her with me. Ironically she was called Lora too.

Eileen
 
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